It's All About Perspective
This blog isn’t always serious. I'm just not a very serious person. My mind tends to jump around. But this post is about something really important to me.
You know the question, "If you could have a superpower, what would it be?" Well, invisibility sounds cool, so does flying, and I really do love my mom’s answer, which is to be able to speak every language, but mine would be the power of perspective.
It took me a long time to be able to describe what I mean when I say that. It started by just wanting to physically see from other viewpoints, so if I was laying on the couch at my dads house thinking about this, looking up at the ceiling, I would want to know what it would look like to sit on the very top of the fan at the top of the ceiling and look down at myself. But then I realized that it was more than that. It would be to see from other people’s perspectives too.
I love understanding a unique perspective. I love figuring out people’s motives, and what they like, and what they hate, and how their emotions work, and what sets them off, and what makes them want to work hard. That, I realize in hindsight, is what first drew me to a psychology minor in college, and then into business and managing people after college. My work actually reflects that now, where I try to create abstract spaces that inspire nostalgia. Because past experiences really make up a person today, and can propel them into an amazing future. I don’t want my pieces to be just one thing, but different for each person that looks at it.
So with this subject close to my heart, there are different ways you can open up your own perspective and see more of others' points of view.
The number one way to discover new perspectives is to travel. Travel as much as you can to as many different kinds of places as you can. Don’t stick to the beaten path, but explore. There are people all over the place, and new experiences waiting to happen. Ask locals where to go, opt for a hostel instead of a hotel. Set yourself up to learn as much as possible about this new place.
2. Live somewhere else.
Take traveling a step farther. You really can’t understand what it is really like to live in a place unless you have to do things like go to the grocery store, have to find a doctor, find a job, interact with people on a daily basis. I have lived 5 places now, and even though most are on the east coast of the States, all are a little different, and it is amazing to experience and now have that knowledge of those little differences.
3. Try new things.
Eat something weird, try hiking even though you have never been, go to someone else's religious service. Put your pride aside and walk in someone else shoes for a second.
4. Talk to people.
Ask people about themselves! People love to talk about things they know and care about. Learn as much as you can about what other people have to say. What affects them, how they grew up, what they go through, what makes them happy. And you might just learn to define things a little differently for yourself.
Characters in books can transport you to far away places and are in situations you could never dream of. One of my favorites is A Long Way Gone. And that takes place worlds away from my personal experiences.
6. Be grateful.
Be extremely grateful for what you have now. You are lucky to be healthy, have enough food, clean water, etc. You shouldn’t feel bad about that, but you should be aware that not all people are as lucky as you are.
There is no greater divide in my perspective (from my experience) than between the rich (or middle class) and the poor. Especially in the States, where the American Dream is something that people use to justify not caring or helping. Volunteer at your local nonprofit. Whether it's clothes, food, healthcare, whatever you have a connection with, volunteer to help in that area and spend time with people. You will be astounded by what people who live right down the street from you go through. Feeding America, I think originally created in their Atlanta Branch, has an amazing program called Hunger 101. It is a simulation of what people have to go through in order to survive off of barely any money, including going through the process of getting help from government agencies, which is not as easy as you probably assume it is.
8. Pay attention to the news.
But not too much attention, if you are as empathetic and affected by these things as I am. I watch Last Week Tonight, which is super super biased, but I know that and it’s usually my point of view too, so I am okay with that. Jimmy Fallon’s monologs are also good. Find some way you can keep up on what is going on, and get involved where you can. But always try to see the other point's of view first. They also believe they are right, and you should understand why, and why you believe what you believe, as well.
9. Decide for yourself.
Try not to be swayed. That is why I say I know Last Week Tonight is biased, but it doesn’t matter. I am not swayed by that show, I just happen to already agree with most of it after deciding for myself. And if you aren’t sure, do more research. For example, when I was little we went to church regularly, then stopped, and one day when I was 12 I said to myself, "Let’s sit down right here on this floor and take a minute and really figure out what we believe in." What do I really believe happens when I die, how do I justify all the horrible things that happen, how can I know, when I am in my darkest hours, that I, or the people I love, will be ok? And so, I decided for myself.
10. Say what if.
Always ask what if. In all situations, all the time. Everything you see has at least two sides. So many things could be happening and could have happened to lead to this result. Always ask what if and play devil’s advocate.
So serious, so serious. Happy traveling and discovering, my friends, I hope to see you on the road. :)
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